Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter

"Happy Easter this Sunday! I love Easter :) its so warm and fun mixed with the spirit too. A great holiday. This week has been crazy! In a Good way...we worked our tails off and hit the streets with faith. One day we biked 18 I'm pretty exhausted...So Thursday it was just lightly snowing (it has been freezing this week) and so we are like problemo, so we get out to biking and suddenly the wind picks up and the snow turns to like ice rain. It felt like ice needles on our face so I wrap my scarf around my face and I'm trying to see through my fogged up glasses...I must have been a sight to see. Then the snow turned to rain (we got soaked through) and then it turned to thick snow. It was crazy. Better yet, no one let us in while tracting and so we were drenched, cold, no love from people and no nothin'! So the more miserable I became the more Laman and Lemuel like I became...I was a big pouty was rough. When you are in those instances it is so easy to complain and just like yell "Why!" I remember one of Elder Holland's quotes, "There is nothing that bad that complaining made it any better." So at the end of the day I prayed hard and just plead with Heavenly Father to please help us and prepare the people of this area for us and our message and to reward our efforts with people to teach. Well, the next day was nothing short of a miracle, we taught 6 lessons! It was incredible. One of those lessons came from teaching a man we met just walking down a street...tracting the houses that had cars out front (because that usually indicates that someones home for sure) and his house didn't have a car so we just walked past and suddenly we hear this "Hey! You boys come here!" we turn and see this guy shouting for us he continues, "Hey I saw you guys and was waiting for ya and hoping you would stop at my house I want to talk with ya." I was just like well hot dog! You betcha! We hurried over and he invited us in and we taught him the first lesson and he even accepted a soft baptismal commitment  That whole day of success just helped me know that God does hear and answer prayers, we taught 14 lessons this week and picked up like 4 or 5 investigators and this area has not seen success like that in a long time. Everyone is just so excited and the ward is so awesome that we are serving in :) I love it."

"Our only concern should be to do better than we did yesterday, step by step is the law of growth, God does not expect the acorn to be a mighty oak before it has been a sapling." ---George E. Carpenter

This area is a growing sapling now!

Elder Blackburn

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Over the hump...

"Well, a year has come and a year has gone. It feels like just yesterday I entered the MTC. I think we young men have to serve for two years because we need the first year to figure out what the heck we're doing and how to do it and the second year to do it right. (sisters are more righteous so it makes sense they only need 18 months) I am thankful I have another year to serve the Lord. This week has been good we did a lot of tracting and we tried and new approach and it is proving successful. We knock and when they anwer we say "hey we're the missionaries and we'd like to share a message with you is that alright?" and sometimes (well more than not) they say "No, sorry not very interested but thanks for stopping by." and we say "oh no worries, is it okay if we read a scripture to you out of the Book of Mormon?" and they usually will let us and then ask us questions and it gets a discussion going right away, it is so cool! Their countenance truly changes as we read them a verse it is the neatest thing, the Book of Mormon is truly our best tool for conversion. I have read and learned so, so much and I wish I could verbalize a very profound email today but I think I do better with a topic in mind first. So plan on next week to be a little more doctrinal :) I love to dive into scriptures and gospel topics. It was actually pretty warm this week but now it is back to cold. While we tract I usually pet any dog, cat, horse, or cow that is near and Elder Hughes thinks it is funny because their could be this huge scary dog barking at us and a second later I'll be petting it and it'll be licking me ha ha I love how everyone out here has dogs and animals it makes it fun. We biked way out to this little hidden valley that is super was like taking a step back in time and we tracted these old farm houses and talked to a bunch of ol' fellars. They said this little valley was settled in the 1840's and how their grandpa or dad settled this piece here and they have lived in that house their whole life (60 yrs or more) there is even a small graveyard where the original settlers buried their slaves when they died. A little Arkansas history.
At church a member made a cool analogy.
He said that life is like a giant game of telephone (you know where you pass a message along a group of people and you see how close it can be to the original) God gives the messages to prophets and over time people distort the message and start their own messages but we are lucky because we have the original message told to us by a prophet of God and that message is the Gospel and what we need to do to return to him but throughout time people interpret it wrong and change it and that is why we need prophets/scriptures/the Spirit/etc. to sort it out for us so we get the message and understand it."

Elder Blackburn

Sunday, March 10, 2013


We knew there was a multi-zone conference last Thursday because a member had sent us an email.  She operates Beehive Mercantile and said that if we sent her an email to Hayden that she would print it and hand deliver when the missionaries stopped by her store - she was right, he stopped he got an extra letter from the family and we received this picture.  We are very grateful for those members who look out for our missionaries!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

District Leader

Elder Blackburn sent us a follow-up email on Monday that said "...I forgot to tell you that I am now District Leader..." So we think we was called to be District Leader when he moved to Springdale.  In any case, he will be a good example and we hope his District is successful and happy.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Never Give Up

"Well, this week was ice cold. Everyday. I know it is cold in Utah and stuff but the cold here is a little different, the humidity here makes the wind bone chilling and it was like in the 20-30's like all week. We biked A TON which was good, and did a lot of work. Last night as we were biking home we looked up and saw a meteor like trail across the sky and break apart, it was the neatest thing! It was really cool that we were able to see that. Last week some of the days were kinda tough for this Elder because we just were doing so much, I was so tired, it was super cold, no one to teach, and year mark approaching and worrying if I've changed enough...All those factors are so menial after the fact but in the moment it was tough...until we went on exchanges with our Bishop. I prayed before we went out with him that I could get over this bad feeling that was pressing on me and that I could feel the spirit and get a boost. I'm a missionary serving the Lord, I should always be happy! So on exchanges with him we visited a sweet older lady...she is just so humble (so when we met with her and visited my small problems melted away) then after visiting a less-active family he told us he wanted to get "fatherly" and started giving us some advice (which I was most ready for!) he told me of how a family member of his suffered greatly Afghanistan/Iraq (5 IEDs and 4 Car Bombs)...even though he has been through all of that he still remains a faithful member of the church and a worthy priesthood holder and refuses to even take pain medications and is just super valiant. One night while they were driving around he said, "Hey can we stop by that Army Surplus store?" the Bishop said sure what for and he explained how he needed to get new knee pads because his are ruined and he didn't want to get them from the army because it would cost more. Bishop was like why? aren't the knee pads you guys have indestructible? he explained how while riding in the Hum-V a RPG came and broke through the windshield and hit the soldier next to him and so the son-in-law grabbed him down and pulled off the scrap metal and the soldier's body armor and started to do CPR and after realized he had been kneeling in melted copper and it had ruined his knee pads. After that the Bishop said to us Elders that no matter how bad things get, how dark the future looks there is nothing under heaven that gives us the right to leave the Savior. There are more reasons to endure than to give up. There is no challenge you can't overcome, no direction you can't change, you can always become the child of God the He would have you be. The Savior knows you and all your problems because he descended "below" all of them. 
I learned a valuable lesson. 
Don't ever give up, Don't ever give up on the Savior, he has overcome it ALL for you." 
Elder Blackburn